This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
The first two films were fun and this one’s solid as well although I’d definitely say it isn’t quite as good as the first two. I always liked the idea of Mike Banning and the President fighting everyone off or the main guy having to go up against an army. This one ends up ditching a lot of that for a more personal film and it’s just hard to successfully lower the stakes like this. As a result it is the weakest of the first 3 films but is still a good title all around.
The movie starts off with Mike enjoying a routine fishing trip with Trumbull who has now become the President. Unfortunately that’s when the drones fly in and murder everyone except for Mike and the President. Unfortunately the President is now in a coma so he can’t vouch for Mike and there’s a lot of evidence around so it looks like Mike is the one who pulled this large scale robotic assault off. The FBI led by field agent Helen quickly agree that a frame up is completely out of the question and Mike Banning who has successfully saved the President’s life on two occasions and has defended America from two previous invasions must have turned evil for some quick cash. Mike realizes that these guys are completely delusional and escapes but how can he prove his innocence before he is taken down?
So this is the classic Fugitive storyline but I really think the FBI look bad in quickly putting Mike as the villain without a doubt. I mean, this is a textbook frame up job and the fact that they never even entertain this idea is sad. I do think the FBI looks awful here in general though. Later on when they’re finally given some evidence they decide to pay a visit to the guy who is assumed to possibly be the master mind of the villains. At the very least he is a big suspect so of course the two FBI agents show up without backup and are quickly gunned down. I mean, was there ever any other way this could have gone down? They did not think this one through at all and man did it make them look bad.
In general that can always be an annoying thing when the hero is framed. It’s not as bad as in titles like Naruto or Saint Seiya where it’s totally nutty since they know him personally but I would still expect Mike to be given more of a chance. He does well on the run though and his experience means that it is difficult to stop him. A lot of the film is really just him buying time to get away. Once the fight starts up then he’s easily able to get through the situation. The villains aren’t nearly as strong as in the first two films.
I do have some issues with how the U.S. looks here once again though. So once we have the President secured we take him to a hospital that is quite easily attacked by the villains? I feel like if the president was ever attacked in real life and we couldn’t safely transport him somewhere, the hospital is immediately going to be secure like Fort Knox. We’re bringing people in from everywhere and establishing a tight perimeter. No way we leave it this unguarded the whole time. It just makes absolutely no sense if you ask me. The villain forces don’t even look all that impressive compared to what we saw in the first two films.
The fights also aren’t as good as in the last two with a lot more jump cuts here. I guess what I’m getting at is that if you compare this film directly to the previous 2 then it loses in almost every single way. This film is best when you aren’t comparing it. If you look at it as a stand alone title then it’s still a good action film. We do have a lot of fights, Mike is a good character, and the movie has good writing. Those are all the solid fundamentals you need in order to be a good movie after all provided that you make no big mistakes.
The security seems lax in almost every scene but at least for the intro I can say that it would be pretty hard to stop drones that are all blowing up like this. I also think going fishing like that is super dangerous but in real life it’s hard to imagine hundreds of sci-fi looking drones coming out like this either. That part is a little hard to buy into even though we do have drones in real life. Firing them all off like that all of a sudden though? I don’t think it’s so easy.
Mike’s father gets to appear here but he’s really not all that great. I mean he’s a decent guy who helps out but the “Old guy who is a conspiracy nut against the government” character has been done so much better in other films. This guy doesn’t leave as much of an impact although I did like the scene where he sets off an explosion that creates a chain reaction for hundreds of other explosions. That was a fun scene. It could be a little over the top but I’ll let it slide since I can buy into it. If you have so much spare time why wouldn’t you continue making the trap more and more dangerous right?
Also, Mike is slightly nerfed in this film because he is just too old now. He suffers from headaches and can’t stay off the pain medication. So he isn’t in his prime like in the first two films but I would say that he’s barely lost a step. He can still fight as needed. As for Trumbull, he is a good President here and remains as a solid character but he doesn’t get to do much since he is unconscious for most of the film.
Overall, Angel Has Fallen is trying to take a different approach from the first two films which is always nice but the whole time you are waiting for things to heat up again. The climax is good and we do have some intense action scenes but it’s a lot more relaxed compared to the first two films. I’m hoping the next film goes back to normal with Mike having to take out whole armies.